Jack Stroudley assesses if Fulham can beat Manchester United.
It’s been quite a positive week for Fulham. A very solid point on the road at Brighton was followed by a comfortable dispatching of high-flying Ipswich Town to secure a Carabao Cup quarter-final place. Coming into our third game in six days, we now welcome struggling Manchester United to Craven Cottage. The pressure is certainly looming for Erik ten Hag, but can Fulham round off a successful week with another positive result?
It’s been an unconvincing start to the season for Manchester United, sitting in eighth place and with successive 3-0 defeats at Old Trafford, there is certainly more riding on this game for them than Fulham. Their away record is okay this season with narrow wins over Burnley and Sheffield United, but defeats away to Tottenham and Arsenal.
The Red Devils will also be without quite a few key players with Raphael Varane being a doubt and Casemiro confirmed to be missing the early kick-off. Following a positive week, Fulham will feel they can get at Manchester United and really pile on the pressure early in the game, but how should we line up?
How do we prepare?
I would make two changes to the side that drew at the AmEx on Sunday, with Sasa Lukic and Rodrigo Muniz coming in for Harrison Reed and Raul Jimenez.
If you’d have told me in the summer, I’d be suggesting Rodrigo Muniz to start a Premier League game I’d call you crazy, but here we are. It’s apparent that the striker position is still up for grabs with neither Jimenez or Vinicius truly staking a claim, so why not give Muniz a go? He’s performed well off the bench this season with his ability to press and force mistakes from opposition defenders and his Carabao Cup goal in the week will certainly give him confidence.
Choosing between Lukic and Reed is a bit of a toss-up and in all honesty I wouldn’t really mind if either of them played. I’ve gone with the Serbian this time as I feel his ability to pick out a pass and bring play forward could be important to us on the counter.
I’ve seen some shouts online of Ballo-Toure starting following his brilliant Carabao Cup display, but I think Robinson has been very good this season and there’s no real need to upset the apple cart too much.
The final verdict
I’m actually very confident about this one; Manchester United are continuing to be the least convincing big six side and we showed three times last season that we can give them a game. If Fulham can get at them early it will unsettle the players and the fans travelling to London. I think it’ll end a point apiece on Saturday.